Processes and Paradigms in Word-Formation Morphology

Processes and Paradigms in Word-Formation Morphology

Processes and Paradigms in Word-Formation Morphology

Processes and Paradigms in Word-Formation Morphology

Synopsis

This text is not only a contribution to theoretical morphology within the tradition of the separationist process morphology, it is also a contribution to sociolinguistics and language change in the sense that it clearly shows how language standardization and its aim of reducing synonomy and polysemy can affect morphological systems. The process-based theoretical model developed by the author is based on extensive empirical data, and it is checked against findings in psycholinguistics, as well as morphology and sociolinguistics.

Excerpt

This book is an attempt both to apply a theoretical model of morphology to a historical problem and to use a historical problem to test a theoretical model, so that it should have something to offer to theoreticians and to those working in historical linguistics or specifically on the history of German word-formation. The latter may linger longer over the detail of sections 7.1.6., 7.2.6, and 7.3.6., while the former may prefer to skim or skip these sections.

The book has been a long time coming…It started out as a translation of my 1987 Vienna thesis, Systemangemessenheit in der Wortbildung am Beispiel desubstantivischer Adjektivableitung im Deutschen. It took me over a year and a completed first draft to confirm my initial suspicions that I was a terrible translatress. When I again had the opportunity to work on the book, it was largely independently of both the original and the translation. I eventually abandoned the project, as I could not give it the time and attention it required. After some years, however, I decided that I had had some important things to say and that I should take it up again. I hope that the passage of time has not been entirely detrimental to the result: both teaching and work on other problems, particularly within inflection, have refined my thinking about a number of theoretical issues in morphology, and the addition of new text material to the database and the implementation of statistic analysis have made my results more robust. The theoretical chapters were completed in 1996; I have endeavoured to refer to newer literature where possible, however. I then began work on the empirical investigation, which takes quite a different approach to its predecessor, while arriving at the same basic results.

There are many people and institutions who, in one way or another, have helped this project along, and it is my great pleasure to acknowledge them. First, the Max-Planck-Institut für Psycholinguistik provided very generous support in 1988-1989, and I benefited from much good advice and encouragement there. The Linguistics Department at Memorial University of Newfoundland also supported my work, among other things in providing me with a research assistant. Faculty of Humanities and University of Calgary research grants allowed me to engage a research assistant and to travel to Germany to gather data. The Faculty of Humanities and the Department of Germanic, Slavic, and East Asian studies also contributed to proof-reading costs.

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